On Thursday night, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to announce yet another country’s normalization of ties with Israel- brokered by the US. Marking the fourth Arab-Israel agreement in four months, Morocco will now join UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, and Jordan in normalizing ties with Israel, and in exchange, the U.S. will recognize Morocco’s claim over the disputed Western Sahara region.
“Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco have agreed to full diplomatic relations – a massive breakthrough for peace in the Middle East!” said President Trump on Twitter, as he now nears the final few days in office. Soon after the tweet, the White House said President Trump and Morocco’s King Mohammed VI had agreed in a conversation that Morocco would “resume diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel and expand economic and cultural cooperation to advance regional stability.”
President Trump also relayed that Israel and Morocco would restore diplomatic and other relations, including the immediate reopening of liaison offices in Rabat and Tel Aviv and the eventual opening of embassies. U.S. officials said it would also include joint overflight rights for airlines. The White House statement also read that the U.S. will recognize the country’s claim over Western Sahara, the former Spanish North African territory that has been a long-standing dispute.
“The president reaffirmed his support for Morocco’s serious, credible, and realistic autonomy proposal as the only basis for a just and lasting solution to the dispute over the Western Sahara territory and as such the president recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the entire Western Sahara territory,” the White House said. During the conversation, the king agreed to resume diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel and expand economic and cultural cooperation to advance regional stability.
Looking at the background, Israel and Morocco have had informal ties for years. A country with a deep Jewish-history, Morocco had previously established low-level diplomatic relations during the 1990s following Israel’s interim peace accords with the Palestinians, but those ties were suspended after the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising in 2000. Since then, however, the informal ties have continued, and an estimated 50,000 Israelis travel to Morocco each year on trips to learn about the Jewish community and retrace their family histories.